University sign MoU to support women empowerment in agriculture

By Tebogo Tabane

8 September 2023

Concluding Women’s Month on a high note, the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), represented by Professor Ben van Wyk, Deputy Vice-Chancellor: Teaching, Learning and Technology, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with World Women Leading Change Africa (WWLCA) the Pretoria Campus Council Chamber. The aim of the agreement is to strategically support the empowerment of women, youth and persons with disabilities in the agricultural and farming sector.

The objectives of WWLCA a non-profit organisation. include developing agricultural value chains; providing agricultural inputs; monitoring production and consumption in the sector; and facilitating comprehensive sectoral development. 

Its mission is to advance sustainable development and humanitarian response as well as facilitate public good through knowledge-sharing expertise. WWLCA believes that food security is a fundamental necessity for peace and stability in civilised modern society including, the African continent. It strongly believes investing in the youth and women, is crucial for dynamic peri-urban and rural economic development.

Speaking about the MoU and the envisioned outcomes, Dr Edgar Nesamvuni, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Management Sciences, said the focus was clear that engagement will center on the capacitation of farming women and the youth to acquire business readiness skills.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University contributed to the training of multiple farmers, especially in the Gauteng region. Just recently, the Faculty of Sciences awarded qualifications to farmers as well as former military veterans who completed their training. When we raise our hands and say we can deliver, we do so knowing we have recently already done something similar,” he said.

He added that the University and WWLCA must work together in reshaping and addressing global complexities caused by things such as climate change. “The University prides itself on the fact that when we train students, it does not only end with the issuing of certificates. We also provide after care, whereby we deploy coaches and business advisor to help farmers to scale-up,” he added.

Prof Yvonne Paul, Acting Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science, said agriculture forms a major part of the programmes offered at the Faculty of Science. “The Faculty has various related departments including Animal Sciences, Crop Science and Horticulture. It also offers Short Learning Programmes to emerging farmers that enable them to be skilled and reskilled in their respective fields. In addition, we are involved with the Land Bank to assist in commercialising the TUT training farm,” she added.

Princess Debbie Dineo Raphuti, WWLCA’s African President, said their organisation understands the many challenges our society faces and its only through agriculture that we can improve the lives of our people. “Our aim is to use the MoU to collaborate in skilling and up-skilling women and the youth in our communities to enable them to be more productive” she added.

The MoU will span five years during which both parties will cooperate mainly in the areas of capacity building and research interventions targeting the youth, especially young women.

Signing the MoU are Prof Ben van Wyk and Princess Raphuti flanked by Dr Edgar Nesamvuni and Audrey Mashimbi.

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